Eat & Drink

Space Wine Is A Thing Now That A Case Of Red Just Landed Back On Earth After 12 Months In Orbit

Scientists have been ageing wine in space the past year and 12 bottles of French Bordeaux they beamed up to the International Space Station have just landed back on Earth via SpaceX Dragon Capsule.

Back in November 2019, SpaceX launched the 12 bottles of Bordeaux – along with 320 merlot and cabernet sauvignon vine snippets – into space thanks to an experiment by start-up, Space Cargo Unlimited.

The bottles (which remained corked) and vines spent 12 months orbiting the Earth so scientists and wine buffs could study how space affects sedimentation and bubbles.

SpaceX’s Dragon Capsule undocked from the ISS on Tuesday, today splashing down in the Gulf of Mexico off Tampa, Florida. The precious cargo saw each bottle nestled inside a steel cylinder to prevent breakage.

Wine-related goods weren’t the only things on board the spacecraft, though. The capsule was also carrying thousands of pounds of research materials and gear, mice and 3D-engineered heart tissues which could hold exciting medical opportunities.

Sadly, astronauts didn’t get to enjoy a drop in microgravity – this wine is strictly for the best palates in France. No one will taste the fruits of space until February, when Space Cargo Unlimited will crack open a bottle or two in the French region of Bordeaux for the tasting of a lifetime with some of France’s top connoisseurs. They’ll then follow this with months of chemical testing.

French bordeaux wine being placed in cylinders for spce

Image: Space Cargo Unlimited via AP

Other than being a cool thing to experiment with, you might wonder if there was a larger point to this mission.

“Our goal is to tackle the solution of how we’re going to have an agriculture tomorrow that is both organic and healthy and able to feed humanity, and we think space has the key,” Nicolas Gaume, CEO and co-founder of Space Cargo Unlimited, told The Associated Press.

Considering climate change will dramatically impact agricultural products like grapes, they’ll need to adapt to harsher conditions, says Guame. Through a series of space experiments, Space Cargo Unlimited hopes to take what’s learned by stressing the plants in weightlessness and turn that into more robust and resilient plants on Earth.

But that’s not all, of course. If the future of travel involves trips to Mars and the moon, then why not be able to enjoy a nice tipple?

“Being French, it’s part of life to have some good food and good wine,” explains Gaume. Enough said.

If you’re not sure what all the fuss is about, learn more about vino from one of our writers who got day drunk with a sommelier.

(Lead image: SpaceX)